James River Coal ( JRCC swung to a profit in the just-ended first quarter, beating analysts' expectations in the process, as new sales contracts with utilities kicked into action.

The news lit a fire under James River shares, which jumped 22% Friday morning, changing hands recently at $17.41 on double than average daily volume.

For the just-ended quarter, James River reported earnings of $28.2 million, or $1.03 a share, on revenue of $192 million. Analysts were expecting profit of 81 cents a share and revenue in-line with the reported number.

A year ago, the Richmond, Va.-based coal-mining concern posted a loss of $16.7 million, or 78 cents a share, on revenue of $138.2 million.

The company owns coal fields in southern Indiana and eastern Kentucky.

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